Rating: 5/5 stars
Harry Potter is an ordinary boy who lives in a cupboard under the stairs at his Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon’s house, which he thinks is normal for someone like him who’s parents have been killed in a ‘car crash’. He is bullied by them and his fat, spoilt cousin Dudley, and lives a very unremarkable life with only the odd hiccup (like his hair growing back overnight!) to cause him much to think about. That is until an owl turns up with a letter addressed to Harry and all hell breaks loose! He is literally rescued by a world where nothing is as it seems and magic lessons are the order of the day. Read and find out how Harry discovers his true heritage at Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft, the reason behind his parents mysterious death, who is out to kill him, and how he uncovers the most amazing secret of all time, the fabled Philosopher’s Stone! All this and muggles too. Now, what are they?
“I hope you’re pleased with yourselves. We could all have been killed – or worse, expelled.”
Set in a wizarding world of magic, Harry Potter lives in the world the majority of children born in the late 1900s and onwards have always dreamt of. It is this world – in which Hogwarts exists – that crafted the imagination of children all over the world. Well, aside from mine…
That’s right, people – I finally read Harry Potter! And I now finally understand what all the fuss is about! I saw that I could access this book for free through Amazon’s Kindle Lending Library, and so seized the opportunity and got reading. And, frankly, I can only call myself a fool for waiting this long!
Part of the fantasy genre, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone focusses on the world of witchcraft and wizardry, in which Harry Potter resides. Although mainly focussing on the witches and wizards, this book does also contain some other fantasy elements, like dragons, unicorns, and centaurs. I really enjoyed the inclusion of these things, and also found it funny how they were only briefly mentioned, as if seeing these creatures were the norm. However, whilst it, granted, adds to the building and development of the world, it does make you question how these creatures have never been seen by the ‘muggles’ (or ordinary people), yet this problem is quickly answered with magic magic magic! It’s truly wonderful the world that Rowling has managed to create in only 300 pages, and very much enjoyable.
Primarily, I assumed this novel was going to be written in a lesser fashion, due to it being aimed at younger readers. However, I was proved wrong! The quality of this novel is on par with some adult novels I’ve read, along with many young adult books I’ve read, also. The language isn’t dumbed down for children, nor is any of the action compromised for children, either. Thus, I enjoyed this book much more than I expected to, for it contained a lot more action and suspense than I’d anticipated. I would say this book is suitable for a vast selection of ages because of this. Of course, as it’s aimed at children, it’s suitable for them, however I – a teenage girl – along with many of my age category are still enjoying this series. Furthermore, I have been told that many adults enjoy this book, also, exemplifying how universal it is.
The majority of this book is told from Harry’s perspective, but in a third-person narrative, which allows a lot of the story to be told through Harry’s eyes, without having any bias taint it. I’d say this particular grammatical ‘person’ is my favourite, and so I personally was very happily surprised by this, but I can’t speak for other people. Generally, I find it quite tedious when books insist on focussing on the protagonist’s thoughts as opposed to the action, which is something one comes across quite frequently in first-person narrative. Thus, as aforementioned, I very much enjoyed and appreciated the narrative for this book.
Now, whilst I was originally worried of the effect the target audience would have on this story, I instead discovered that there come some bonuses with said target audience being younger than yourself. For example, I found this novel very easy to follow, despite it being quite a fast pace. Having said this, it’s not as if the plot is compromised for this purpose; quite frankly, I’d argue the opposite. It’s quite difficult to successfully deliver a gripping storyline without it becoming unnecessarily confusing, yet Rowling succeeds.
Furthermore, all of the characters in this book have a true purpose, and are equally individual. Thankfully, there are no characters that are unnecessarily similar, besides, perhaps, Malfoy’s minions, but that is with reason. Harry, Ron and Hermione, each to their own, bring different qualities to the friendship group, as does Neville when he is sporadically involved. Thus, there is a character for everyone to relate to, just as there is development of each of said characters. Hermione, for example, begins the book with quite a haughty and patronizing demeanour, yet concludes the book having learnt from Harry and Ron that it’s OK to not be right all the time, and to relax.
Surprisingly, this book also made me laugh quite a lot. Some of Harry’s wit is very amusing, as are some other sections of humour included by Rowling. I didn’t expect there to be such a sarcastic side to Harry, for I feel this is eradicated in Harry’s screen character, and very much enjoyed it, for I am a rather sarcastic person as well. Likewise, I didn’t expect this series to be so addictive, however what should I have expected when considering the PotterHead fandom? On multiple occasions, I discovered I had been so immersed in the book that I’d been reading for hours, when in reality it only felt like minutes!
Overall, I awarded this book 5/5 stars, for it amused, entertained and pleasantly surprised me with many of the attributes mentioned above.